Phillies Notes: Wells, Brown, Volquez and Harvey

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Phillies Notes: Wells, Brown, Volquez and Harvey

NEW YORK -- Maybe Casper Wells’ problems at the plate are as simple as this:

He can’t see.

Wells went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in Saturday night’s 18-inning loss to Arizona. He also took the loss on the mound when the Phillies ran out of pitchers.

But the troubling part of Wells’ short time with the Phillies is this: He is 1 for 23 with eight strikeouts.

On Sunday, Wells went to manager Ryne Sandberg and admitted that he’s having trouble seeing the ball -- not just at the plate, everywhere, even in the outfield.

“The ball looks blurry to him,” Sandberg said.

The Phils placed Wells on the disabled list Monday and brought up utility man Pete Orr from Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Wells will be examined by eye specialists this week in Philadelphia.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wells had LASIK surgery last fall and has had some complications.

“He really hadn’t told anybody about it until now,” Amaro said. “He went to Ryne and said that he was fearful that he was going to get injured because he wasn’t able to pick up the ball, and he wasn’t able to play at an optimal level because he couldn’t see.

“You don’t know if he was struggling or not seeing the ball well, but obviously he was having those issues, so that could be part of it. He wasn’t making excuses. He just wants to get to the bottom of it.”

Overall this season, Wells has played for three teams and is hitting .128
(12 for 94) with 31 strikeouts.

Brown getting close
Domonic Brown was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Monday night. He has battled some soreness in his right Achilles tendon since hitting the first base bag awkwardly Friday night.

Sandberg said the Phillies were not considering the disabled list for Brown.

“Just day to day,” Sandberg said.

Brown was available for pinch-hitting duty.

Volquez, maybe?
Far out of contention, the Phillies over the final weeks of the season are evaluating a number of players and their possible roles in the future. Roger Bernadina is getting looks in the outfield along with Darin Ruf. Cody Asche is being evaluated at third base. Roy Halladay’s health and effectiveness are being gauged. Even free-agent-to-be Carlos Ruiz is under the microscope.

Could Edinson Volquez be next? The right-hander has been released by San Diego.

“We’ve talked about it internally,” Amaro said.

Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA for the Reds in 2008. He had Tommy John surgery the next year and has struggled to replicate that success. He had a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts for the Padres this season.

In 2010, Volquez was found in violation of MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs and served a 50-game suspension.

Harvey shut down
Speaking of Tommy John surgery, the Mets shut down hard-throwing phenom Matt Harvey with a partially torn ulna collateral ligament on Monday (see story). Rest has been prescribed, but surgery is a possibility. If Harvey needs ligament-replacement surgery (Tommy John), he will likely miss next season.

The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. He has allowed just 15 hits and eight walks while striking out 38 in 33 1/3 innings against the Phillies.

Harvey was supposed to face the Phillies on Thursday. Right-hander Carlos Torres will fill that spot.

In the fraternity of baseball, no one is ever happy to hear of an injury, even when it happens to an opponent.

“He’s a bright star, one of the best we’ve seen this year,” Sandberg said. “You hate to see that. It’s a shame.”

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have released their Wall of Fame ballot for 2017 and Pete Rose is on it for the first time.

Baseball’s all-time hits king joins Steve Bedrosian, Larry Christensen, Jim Fregosi, Gene Garber, Placido Polanco, Ron Reed, Scott Rolen, Manny Trillo and Rick Wise on the ballot.

The Phillies had to receive permission from commissioner Rob Manfred to include Rose on the ballot. Rose was placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list in 1989 after he admitted to wagering on baseball during his time as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The ban precludes him from appearing on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Rose is still on the ineligible list, but Manfred has shown some leniency in recent years and Rose has been able to participate in some ceremonies. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame last summer. 

Rose was one of the stars on the Reds’ Big Red Machine, a club that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. He came to the Phillies as a free agent before the 1979 season. He spent five years with the Phils and his leadership was considered key in getting a talented team over the top on its way to winning the 1980 World Series. 

The Phillies’ Wall of Fame ceremony will take place Aug. 12 at Citizens Bank Park. 

Fans have a voice in the voting, which is has begun on the team’s website -- www.Phillies.com. Fans can select their top three choices and the five finalists will serve as the official ballot for a special Wall of Fame selection committee.

Phillies 6, University of Tampa 0: Prospects put on a show

Phillies 6, University of Tampa 0: Prospects put on a show

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies offered up a sneak peek of their Triple A roster on Thursday and, frankly, it was kind of exciting.

Now, we won't go overboard here. That’s never a wise thing to do when a bunch of solid major-league prospects beat up on a college team in a spring training game. Lessons have been learned over the years. Remember that time Domonic Brown electrified camp when he turned around a 96-mph fastball from Justin Verlander and hammered it like a missile over the right-field wall?

Enough said.

But if things like home run power and bat speed and rocket throwing arms and good infield work light up your radar gun then this was a fun day and an entertaining peek at what's going to be playing 60 miles north of Philadelphia at Lehigh Valley in a few weeks.

Manager Pete Mackanin used a lineup filled with prospects for the team’s annual good-will exhibition game against the University of Tampa.

The Phillies won the game, 6-0. They out-hit UT, 12-2, in the seven-inning game.

“This gave us home-field advantage for next year when we play these guys,” Mackanin quipped afterward.

The skipper was in a good mood and justifiably so.

The kids put on a good show.

“I know it’s a college team, but we looked good all around,” Mackanin said. “We swung the bats well. We played well defensively.”

The Phillies' farm system has improved over the last couple of seasons. There are players at the upper levels -- and even more at the lower levels -- with game-breaking tools. Those tools were displayed in this game.

• Centerfielder Roman Quinn singled and scorched a line-drive home run over the right-field wall. Quinn is working on shortening his swing this spring. The home run came on a quick swing and jumped off his bat.

• Scott Kingery, the 22-year-old second baseman picked by the Phillies in the second round of the 2015 draft, made three nice plays in the field, one to his right, one to his left and one on a double-play ball. He actually projects to open at Double A, but could be a quick mover. Jesmuel Valentin projects to play at Triple A. He's been bothered by a sore shoulder.

• Outfielder Nick Williams was hitless but drove the ball well.

• Dylan Cozens, the lefty-hitting behemoth who swatted 40 homers, the most in all of minor-league ball, for Double A Reading last season clubbed a long home run over the batter’s eye in center field.

“Ryan Howard is the only guy I’ve ever seen do that,” one longtime security guard at Spectrum Field said.

“The ball makes a different sound coming off his bat,” Mackanin observed.

• Top prospect J.P. Crawford booted a ball in the first inning, but that happens. He came across the second base bag like a blur when he teamed with Kingery in turning a double play.

• Andrew Pullin showed his sweet lefty stroke with a scorching base hit to right field. It was one of those line drives that nose-dived into the ground because it had so much hard top-spin on it. Pullin has a short, Jim Eisenreich type of swing, and it will carry him to the big leagues someday, maybe even this year as he would be an intriguing bat to have coming off the bench.

• And then there was catcher Jorge Alfaro. Power -- with his throwing arm and his bat -- is his big tool. He showed it gunning down a would-be base stealer with a laser-beam throw to second and later by lining a pitch off the top of the wall in right-center. Alfaro seemed to simply flick his wrists and drive the ball through a stuff wind. With no wind, it was a homer.

Again, all of this came against a college team. All of these prospects still have miles to go in their development and the rigors of the unforgiving baseball schedule, not to mention pitching that improves with every step, has a way of thinning the field.

But these prospects -- and their tools -- impressed the field boss.

“If they go to Triple A and pound the ball like they did today -- that’s what we’re hoping for,” Mackanin said. “It was a good day to give those guys some confidence. We want to see what they can do and what they can’t do. It was against a college team, but you can get a good glimpse of the future, see what they’re capable of doing. I’m going to try to see the young guys as much as I can early in the spring.

“It’s really encouraging to see these guys. Every one of them has very good potential, more than I’ve seen since I’ve been here.

“I was talking to Charlie Manuel (who sees the entire system in his front office role) before the game and he said up and down the system we have a lot of good players. Perhaps not necessarily blue-chip prospects but enough where you know some of them are going to make their way to the top and this is a good start with what we’re looking at right now.”